Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.
A deadly humanitarian crisis is developing in Ethiopia, where thousands of people are fleeing violence in the Tigray region. About 4,000 have crossed the border into eastern Sudan every day over the past week and that number is growing, the United Nations warned.
Ethiopia’s prime minister says “the final and crucial” military operation will launch in the coming days against the government of the country’s rebellious northern Tigray region.
Ethiopia’s federal government has declared an “unexpected war” on its northern Tigray state, threatening the stability of one of the world’s most strategic regions, the Horn of Africa.
Ethiopian government forces have been fighting against a powerful regional government in the country’s north and hundreds are reported to have died.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, a Nobel Peace laureate, ordered the government offensive after accusing the rival Tigray People’s Liberation Front of launching an attack against Ethiopia’s military.
Thousands of people have been displaced, as government planes bomb targets in the Tigray region. The rhetoric is hardening on both sides of the conflict, raising fears it could escalate into a full-out civil war.
The government is also bombing targets across the Tigray region and the United Nations’ refugee agency says that some 7,000 Ethiopians fleeing the fighting have crossed the border into Sudan. The U.N. says that even before this conflict started, there were already about 96,000 Eritrean refugees and another 100,000 people who had been internally displaced in this part of Ethiopia.
Abiy, last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, continues to reject international pleas for dialogue and de-escalation in the two-week conflict in the Horn of Africa that has spilled into neighboring Eritrea and sent more than 25,000 frightened Ethiopian refugees pouring into Sudan.
Hurricane Iota exploded into a catastrophic category 5 storm on Monday and bore down on a remote Central American coastal region already reeling from another major storm, Hurricane Eta, with efforts to evacuate villagers hampered by shortages of fuel for boats.
Iota is the record 30th named storm of an extraordinary Atlantic hurricane season. Such activity has focused attention on climate change, which scientists say is causing wetter, stronger and more destructive storms.
The World Food Programme said millions of people in Central America already urgently needed food assistance in the wake of Eta and that it had transported nearly 300 tonnes of food to affected villages in Nicaragua.
“It’s caused a lot of damages to the most vulnerable peoples, which tends to be Indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants and Black communities all across Central America,” says Giovanni Batz, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis, who has been in touch with people reeling from Hurricane Eta.
Hate crimes have surged nearly 20 percent during the administration of President Donald Trump, according to a new FBI report on hate crime statistics. The report also shows that hate-motivated murders, largely committed by white supremacists, spiked to their highest number in 28 years.
The FBI’s annual reports on hate crime statistics show that hate crimes have increased from 6,121 incidents in 2016 to 7,314 in 2019, a 19.49 percent increase. Hate-motivated murders spiked to a total of 51 in 2019, the highest number in nearly 3 decades, according to an analysis of the FBI’s data conducted by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism (CSHE) at California State University.
Of 2019’s hate crimes, 57.6 percent were motivated by race, ethnicity or ancestry; 20.1 percent were motivated by religion; 16.7 percent were motivated by sexual orientation; 2.7 percent by gender identity; 2 percent by disability and 0.9 percent by gender.
A majority of the hate crime incidents occurred in California, New York, Washington, New Jersey and Texas.
More than 54 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed around the world, the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported.
The U.S., India and Brazil continue to top the list as the places with the most infections. The U.S. has more than 11 million cases, while India and Brazil have 8.8 million and 5.8 million, respectively.
As the pandemic rages, climate change is not taking a break from wreaking havoc, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said in a report.
In its report on global catastrophes since the 1960s, the Geneva-based organisation pointed out that the world had been hit by more than 100 disasters – many of them climate-related – since the World Health Organization declared the pandemic in March.
Pfizer and Moderna have announced vaccines with more than 90% effectiveness. Both companies have yet to release detailed data from this final stage of clinical trials, and the results may change by the time they’re complete. But many experts are optimistic that the initial distribution of these vaccines could begin by year’s end.